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Science and Politics: The Uneasy Relationship*

My 2005 summer reading included the new biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer, American Prometheus, by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin. An excellent book, it describes one of the clearest examples of the interplay between science and politics in American history. One of its lessons is that if a scientist cooperates with the government and its policy wishes, the relationship goes smoothly. Despite some shaky associations in his past, Oppenheimer got to run Los Alamos and helped American scientists produce an atomic bomb. On the other hand, if a scientist opposes an administration or congressional policy objective—in Oppenheimer’s case, building the hydrogen bomb—then that scientist is vulnerable to persecution, challenge, and denial of [his/her] security clearance.








also in this issue
A Year in the Life of ASA’s Sociology of Education: A View from the Inside

At Sociology of Education (SoE), only one in five submissions is accepted for publication, and then typically after one, two, or even three rounds of often extensive revisions. How does that sifting and sorting get done, and why should we care?


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XVI World Congress of Sociology, Durban, South Africa, July 23-29, 2006

“The Quality of Social Existence in a Globalizing World”

The American Sociological Association expects to receive a $45,000-grant from the National Science Foundation to provide travel funds to U.S. sociologists to attend the XVI World Congress of the International Sociological Association (ISA) in Durban, South Africa, July 23-29, 2006.

Copyright © 2006 by the American Sociological Association. All rights reserved.